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Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive

Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive

Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive. Before moving to Green Bay in 2008, he was the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Milwaukee County. A graduate of UWM in 1971, he moved to Madison, where he was Executive Personnel Officer and Technology Manager for the State Department of Employment Relations. He is a former Vice Chair of the Democratic Party of Brown County, Director at the Human Resources Management Association of S.E. Wisconsin (now SHRM), and Technology Commission Chair for the City of Franklin. Bob is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1965-1971).

Who Do You Trust in Republican Ad Blitz?

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
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on Thursday, 29 March 2012
in Our View

Wisconsin is really in silly season this week. What’s up with our right wing friends and neighbors?

The mail and TV ads around my house this week are full of charges made by Republicans against other Republicans as the April 3rd Presidential Primary approaches. Most of them seem to be coming from something called Restore Our Future. I didn’t know we had lost it, but these people evidently think so.

Restore Our Future thinks Rick Santorum is a “Washington Insider” who “joined with Hillary Clinton” to waste money and do other dubious liberal things.  I didn’t know Rick and Hillary where such pals. “Rick Santorum thinks letting felons vote is a good idea” , the ad goes on to say. Rick Santorum must be a scary guy.

I looked up www.restoreourfuture.com on the internet and found out they are a rather obvious front for Mitt Romney. Now, the ads on TV tell me that you cannot trust Mitt Romney.  He invented “RomneyCare”, whatever that is, and drove Massachusetts into “billions” of dollars of debt. Debt it seems is going to end the world as we know it. It certainly isn’t going to Restore Our Future.

Funny, as I remember, running up the government debt was a central theme of “Supply Side Economics” promoted by then Republican President Ronald Reagan in the eighties.  Both Republican Presidents Bush kept it up, and only Democratic President Bill Clinton did anything to reverse the trend in the late nineties. I guess those Republicans didn’t want to restore our future either.

On top of that, today’s news tells me that our right wing friends are hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Health Care Act, and that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will uphold the State’s new voter ID bill, fast. I thought they were against “activist judges”.  Maybe it is different now that they have a Republican majority in both courts?

If the Republicans don’t trust each other, why should the rest of us trust any of them? Maybe there isn’t a real Republican Party any more, just a bunch of special interest groups fighting it out for what’s left. The Christians pulling one way, big business another.  The only thing they seem to have in common is hate towards President Obama.

I would not call any of them Conservatives. Bob Taft from Ohio was a Conservative, and so was Barry Goldwater. They were honorable men. But where is the honor among these guys?

And I’m not even going to get started on Scott Walker. 

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There Is No Reason to Delay the Walker Recall Election

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Friday, 09 March 2012
in Our View

scott-walkerMADISON - On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB), which oversees elections in the state, sent a letter to local election clerks around the state, to determine the most administratively convenient times for the recall elections targeting Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

The GAB was asking clerks to respond in time for the board’s upcoming meeting this Monday.

We need to go ahead with this recall election as soon as possible. There is no reason for any further delay.

Recall organizers collected nearly one million signatures of Wisconsin citizens demanding a recall election to remove Scott Walker from office. They waited for nearly two weeks after the first legal date to begin collecting them, and did so easily within the 60 days allowed by Wisconsin law. They filed their petitions at the appropriate place and in a timely manner.

Normally, and in any other recall around our State, the elected official targeted by a recall has 30 days to challenge the validity of the signatures. After all, you want to give the accused party the right to look at the petitions and challenge the validity of the names on it. That's only fair.

Walker, however, got his 30 days and did not challenge even one name. On top of that, he shopped around for a sympathetic judge in Waukesha County to issue an order that the GAB had to redo Walker's work for him. The GAB was to spend thousands, if not more, of our tax dollars to verify the validity of every name.

Walker's people did not identity one invalid signature. Is there any reason to believe that the GAB will find, after all the work, nearly 500,000 of them? If at least 541,000 of the one million signatures submitted, or 54%, are valid, then the recall election must go ahead anyway. Even Walker's most ardent supporters are not claiming evidence of a 46% rejection rate.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Walker and his cronies have been given nearly a year and a half to trample all over the Wisconsin Constitution, hold closed meetings, gerrymander the State, and pass election laws which deny thousands of citizens their right to vote. All the while, the citizens of this State have been waiting to exercise their right to throw him out of office.

It is time to stop the circus and have the election. There can be nothing to gain from further delay, except to feed Walker's apparent belief that the Koch Brother's money has placed him above the law and the people.

What's next? Maybe some legal maneuver to find a judge to rule that governors cannot be recalled after all?

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Get Rush Limbaugh Off Wisconsin Radio

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 07 March 2012
in Our View

rush-limbaugh-radio-showGREEN BAY – Conservative talking head Rush Limbaugh spent much of last week making ugly comments about college student Sandra Fluke, calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute”, for having the guts to want to testify before Congress. Besides the ugly language, it did not seem to bother him that he did not know what he, or she, was talking about. He just seemed to want to bully a woman, a private citizen at that, to run up his ratings.

Rush Limbaugh makes a living making outrageous comments on the public airwaves. Normally, the rest of us don’t care what he says. He’s just trying to get attention, and to pay attention is to play into his hand. He is playing to a small group of people who want to listen to someone say on the air the ugly things they are too afraid to say themselves.

But this time he went too far, way over the line. Because this is the kind of thing that Joe McCarthy did, and you have to stand up to a bully right away or they will just keep coming.

You should not have to be a woman to be outraged. Women have been bullied by the s-word and “your parents would be ashamed” line for years and are especially sensitive to what Rush was doing. But the rest of us, who have wives and daughters and granddaughters should be equally upset. I want every woman in my life to feel free to speak their mind and not fear bullies like Rush Limbaugh.

Which gets us to the final point. I would not presume to tell anyone what to say, but below is a list of the radio stations that carry Rush Limbaugh’s show in Wisconsin. I urge everyone who shares my outrage to contact the one or two nearest you and tell them, in your own words, that you would not listen to their station or advertisements so long as they carry Rush Limbaugh’s show.

They use your public airwaves, and you have the right to let them know when you think someone goes way over the line.

Market Station Freq Air Time

Ashland            WATW-AM 1400            MoFr 11a2p

Eagle River            WERL-AM    950            MoFr 11a2p

Green Bay            WTAQ-FM     97.5            MoFr 11a2p

Green Bay            WTAQ-AM 1360            M-F 11a-2p

La Crosse            WIZM-AM 1410            M-F 11a-2p

Madison            WIBA-AM 1310            M-F 11a-2p

Menomonie            WMEQ-AM 880            MoFr 11a2p

Milwaukee            WISN-AM 1130            M-F 11a-2p

Oshkosh            WOSH-AM    1490            M-F 11a-2p

Park Falls            WPFP-AM      980            M-F 11a-2p

Rudolph            WSAU-FM 99.9            M-F 11a-2p

Sheboygan            WHBL-AM 1330            M-F 12p-3p

Shell Lake            WCSW-AM 940            MoFr 11a2p

Superior            WDSM-AM 710            M-F 11a-2p

Wausau            WSAU-AM 550            M-F 11a-2p

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Fight back against attacks on the Wisconsin Retirement System

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 09 February 2012
in Our View

I am, among other things, a member of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). As a former state employee, I receive a pension from the same system as our educators and most county employees. It was no gift, we paid for it out of our salaries.

It follows then that I join with the WEAC to urge legislators to oppose a first strike on the WRS.

Urge your legislators to oppose AB 539, giving the UW System authority to create an optional retirement plan for new hires as an alternative to the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS), a proposal authored 15 years ago by former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen.

This legislation is a first strike in what many fear will devolve into an all-out assault on our state’s nationally recognized pension plan that provides more than 572,000 of Wisconsin’s active and retired educators, police officers, firefighters and other public workers with modest financial security in their retirement years.

Legislation like AB 539 will slowly weaken the financial security of the state’s retirement fund, destabilize the retirement funds of active employees and current retirees, and could lead to increased contribution rates for employees and employers over time.

E-mail your legislators today and urge them to stand up for working families and their futures by opposing AB 539.

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Proud of Wisconsin Democracy

Posted by Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert, Green Bay Progressive
Bob Kiefert is the Publisher of the Northeast Wisconsin - Green Bay Progressive.
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 18 January 2012
in Our View

Yesterday, a grass roots coalition of Wisconsinites delivered recall petitions signed by over 1,900,000 Wisconsin citizens to recall Scott Walker, Rebecca Kleefisch, and their right-wing cronies in the state legislature. Included in the total was over one million to recall Walker alone.

Mike Tate, Chairperson of the State Democratic Party said “In Wisconsin, you have made a historic stand.”

We say it was more than that. It was truly a demonstration of what democracy looks like.

The signatures, on over a ton of paper, were delivered to the Government Accountability Board (GAB) in Madison and should be easily sufficient to force a recall election this summer. Only a little over 540,000 signatures each are required to recall Walker and Kleefisch. Petitions sufficient to cause a recall of four other Republicans, including State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, were also delivered.

Walker and his cronies in Madison can be expected to exhaust every opportunity, legal and otherwise, to delay the recall election itself. They will argue that the unions were behind it, that a recall costs too much, is unneeded, that we should wait till the next election. They will run their countless TV ads saying their “reforms are working” and trying to scapegoat teachers and other government workers for the “budget deficit” they created on paper.

Ever since the Citizens United decision, big corporate money has flowed into our elections seeking to buy our votes. To imply some equivalency between this money and that provided by union sources is a joke. They create a false reality with their big money media and offer their prepaid candidates as a solution.

It is the greatest threat to democracy in our lifetime, and the recall effort provides a template on how to beat it.

Thousands of citizen volunteers, and I personally know a lot of them, got out and did the hard leg work to gather these signatures. They did not ask for anything for themselves except the knowledge that they would not go down quietly, that they would be heard.

This is what democracy looks like. That every citizen has an equal voice and an equal vote at the town hall meeting. That governments are created by the people to represent their interests and can be changed if they don't.

This is also the Wisconsin tradition of democracy. Scott Walker forgot this tradition at his own peril. And it makes us proud to be in Wisconsin this fine sunny morning.

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